We are now five years into this journey, publicly. Internally, it’s closer to seven. Personally, it feels like I’ve spent the majority of my life loving watches in some way or other and trying to be involved in a more intense way than just being a customer. 20-something years ago, I started down this slippery rabbit hole and discovered there were other crazy people like me online, and they were a friendly and welcoming bunch. And there was a ton of information out there that was simply free for the taking. The whole hobby and industry was a very different place back then; but the community for the most part remains just as passionate as ever.
I started writing this as a broader announcement for the brand, but I realize it represents a significant personal transition, too. Anybody who has been on the entrepreneur side of the fence will be familiar with the sleepless nights, worries and wearing of any and all hats necessary to keep the little machine you’ve built running. Maybe the hard work pays off and the child gets a step closer to independence. The team grows with it, and suddenly you’re responsible for more than 30 people – if we count dedicated watchmakers, strapmakers and other employees at various partners (who turn your ideas into a reality). A reality that collectors all over the world can smile at when they look at their wrists.
The time has come where it isn’t physically possible for one person to be running everything. To give MING the opportunity to grow, continue to meet customer experience expectations, reach new collectors and push creative boundaries even further, it will be necessary for us to specialize. It means figuring out what each person on the team is best at, where they want to be, and who’s missing.
Thus – it is with excitement that I announce Praneeth Rajsingh stepping up to the role of CEO; you will remember him as the youngest of the original six founders. I have had the pride of playing a small role in seeing him grow from a university student to the very capable individual he is today.
We are also adding a new Head of Customer Experience, Hasnida Hashim. She brings over 14 years of industry experience and was last a country head at Jaeger-LeCoultre. I have known her personally for all those years – and on every occasion had a first-class experience. We now want to let you have that opportunity.
At this point you’re probably thinking I’m retiring: if anything, it’s the opposite. I continue to hold the largest stake in the company and responsible for all design and creative efforts – from the watches to the latest round of packaging. I want to and need to have more time to spend on design, research and development of new technologies, processes and…things unique to us. Our own movements, for example, two of which are already in advanced stages of development. I want to be able to focus 110% on the product; on continually striving to make a more interesting watch. I want to have time to think and figure out where and how to take MING in the next 5, 10, 20 years.
The most valuable advice I’ve been given in my previous careers are that a) the right orchestra always trumps even the most capable soloist and b) the best leaders know when not to. I’m merely trying to live up to that advice. Lastly – as part of the five year celebrations, we have a number of announcements lined up…please watch this space.
Editor's note: The Transition, Part Two by Praneeth, is available to read here.